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Industry Position: President, Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers
What attracted you to the sector?
When I entered the industry in 2000, it was all new and I was intrigued about the future of the financial services industry and the recent black-listing of The Bahamas. Being an avid reader, I found the compendium of legislature interesting coupled with the new regulations and guidelines. I so acquainted myself with them that I began to acquire an extensive knowledge of risk within financial institutions inclusive of market, credit transactions, processing compliance and legal liability and reputational risks.
How long have you been in the industry?
Since 1984, I've worked in various areas of banking, mainly operations, firstly as a Securities Administrator which was quite exciting as it involved interacting with clients and traders which gave me tremendous versatility in Operations, Controlling and Management. I was also intimately involved in the creation and implementation of cross-functional controls, procedures and verifications to ensure quality of processes and controls within organizations, conducting cross-functional risk assessments of new business products or processes and funds, heading Special Project teams and managing the same, providing support to the CEO or managing directors of my organizations and to the boards of directors.
What keeps you motivated?
My son Nathan is my number one motivator, followed by my peers in the industry, as we feed off of each other while the industry continuously evolves.
Why do you think you have been successful?
I think my success is driven by my passion for the field of compliance and I definitely believe that I am blessed and that it is the favor of God in my life. I have a zeal for getting things done and in a timely and professional manner; I have an ability to work independently and handle ad hoc requests in a timely and reliable manner and have a resilience to stress and a capacity to deal with strict deadlines. My industry peers have also advised me that I am an effective diplomat and have effective interpersonal and communication skills and of course computer literacy.
Did mentoring play a part in your success?
Mentoring most certainly played a major role in my life. I entered this profession back in 2000 when everything was new: legislation and the Bahamas Association of Compliance Officers. The past presidents, Senator Cheryl Bazard, Natasha Rolle-Bastian, Tanya McCartney, Cherise Cox-Nottage, Robin Scavella, Fabian Bain, Edward Cooper and Kesna Pinder all played a part in my mentoring through my involvement in the association.
In fact, I'm referred to as the longest serving member of the Excom having served in various roles since 2001: the Education Committee, secretary, vice president and now president.
What qualifications do you feel are the most useful in helping you perform in the sector?
I am a planner, and although I agree that we cannot plan everything, it helps to eliminate some unnecessary stress. My strong point has always been my ability to meet deadlines. Of course, it's not always within the eight hour period, so one will have to find ways to strategize and get results.
What has been the biggest challenge in your career? How did you overcome it?
Change is always the x-factor ... but to be successful you have to learn to embrace it and at times love it. It certainly avoids monotony.
Why is it important to encourage our youth to think of careers within financial services?
For our future. As professionals it is important to ensure good succession planning within financial services. Someone has to carry on the traditions and as such it is important for us to mentor and encourage our youth to pursue careers within the financial industry. The industry requires talent from all of the traditional and non-traditional professions i.e. we have lawyers, accountants, trust professionals and also croupiers . BACO encourages participation in the control and oversight aspects of financial services through our annual speech competition which provides high school students an opportunity to discover the widest opportunities within financial services through their personal research after which they present their speeches in a public forum, and a winner is chosen.
What advice would you give young people just starting out in the industry?
We are gatekeepers for our various financial institutions and more importantly this jurisdiction, and we must ensure that, above all, integrity and accountability are everyday tools of the trade. Not only are our stockholders depending on this but, compliance essentially at its core, is concerned with such issues as the viability and sustainability of an organization; whether dedicated employees will ultimately have a pension on which to retire and whether parents would be enabled to pay for the school and university educations of their children. In short, we always emphasize this truth, compliance, if utilized thoughtfully, as a tool of national development, is about advancing the Bahamian dream.
By ALISON LOWE
Tribune Business Reporter
A ban on commercial shark fishing would help protect the $78 million that shark dive-related tourism is estimated to bring to the Bahamas annually, the industry's potential growth and the predator's role in the sustainability of other commercial fisheries in this nation, a leading expert said yesterday.
Working with the Cousteau Society, Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of legendary French explorer and marine scientist, Jacques Cousteau, is in Nassau this week to support the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Pew Environmental Group's (PEG) campaign to get the Government to enact legislation banning commercial fishing o ...
When the new Bay Street West opens in November, Bahamians, many for the first time, will catch a glimpse of Hobby Horse Lake. As it undergoes restoration, most people see the lake as it is - a charming backdrop for the morning commute.
But Gary Larson, the Director of Environmental Affairs at Baha Mar, sees something entirely different.
He sees the front door of a wildlife sanctuary spanning hundreds of acres, including an archeological site that pre-dates Columbus.
In an action that is sure to transform Nassau, Baha Mar is offering the land and kicking in $2 million to launch a nature reserve.
"When I came on board here, I was very pleased to see the company's attitude towards the environment," Larson said, who served as Executive Director of the Bahamas National Trust for 20 years before joining Baha Mar.
"It's refreshing to see them not just saying so, but doing so. Often you have to beat people over the head with environmental issues. But this philosophy comes from the head down."
West of the main Baha Bar development is an area most Bahamians have forgotten.
There are good reasons for that. In terms of development, the area isn't accommodating because it's mostly wetlands and mangroves. But what once was lost will soon be found and rejuvenated, according to Robert Sands, Senior Vice President of Administrative and External Affairs.
"Our commitment is to create a wildlife sanctuary that will be made available to the public as well as guests of the hotels," he told Guardian Business.
'We are committing a $1 million grant to get the project started, and another $1 million for its management. The idea is create opportunities for bird watching, walking, jogging and enjoying the indigenous species."
This investment has also come at a significant logistical cost - the Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course has actually been redrawn to accommodate the wildlife reserve, and will now encompass more of the land South of the resort towards Corridor 7.
Larson added that of the 1,000 acres included under the Baha Mar banner, approximately half will be considered part of this protective ecosystem.
Any future development in this area will be restricted or placed under tight criteria.
As the Director of Environmental Affairs, Larson will have a full-time support staff to monitor the wildlife sanctuary. The Bahamas Environment Science & Technology Commission have been providing weekly reviews of the site and a government-appointment representative is on board.
Up until now, the wetlands and mangroves "have not been taken of care of any degree at all", according to Larson.
For Sands, beyond the obvious environmental benefits of establishing a wildlife reserve, its creation of will provide an entirely new dimension to the tourism industry.
"It broadens the resort's offering," he explained.
"We are going beyond the traditional menu. We have added the nature dimension - it is very unique."
A parking lot will be built on the fringe of the reserve, he added, and tourists and Bahamians alike can have access to the park through a network of trails.
Pointing to a bird-eye view of the development, Sands indicated that in the far southern tip of Baha Mar property is actually an archeological site.
It was discovered, he explained, when the initial excavation and survey was done. There is a cave that pre-dates Columbus and a series of artifacts have been found surrounding the site.
Incredibly, the golf course and wildlife reserve will be constructed around this piece of history, adding another layer of attraction for tourists and residents.
Hobby Horse Lake, however, while more humble and unassuming, is the key to the entire project, according to Larson.
"Protecting the pond is the key," he said.
"It is a valuable part of the ecosystem and the best habitat that supports birds and other forms of wildlife. Around it, the rest of the reserve will flourish."
The Bahamas National Trust hosted a group of stakeholders at the Retreat
to review and build a Sustainable Tourism Model for the Exuma Cays Land
and Sea Park (ECLSP). The project is the first of its kind in
the region and aims to provide an adaptive, fluid model for managing
protected areas in general but starting with ECLSP as a pilot area.
"Today's workshop is focused on sustainable tourism
for the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park," said Krista Sherman, GEF Full-Sized
Coordinator, BNT. "We have two consultants who were hired to develop
this model and we invited a number of stakeholders from different sectors
throughout the tourism industry and those
When the recent city dump fire began it was fascinating to fly over and see where the unhealthy smoke spread on New Providence. It drifted northwest toward the Cable Beach area over many homes and toward a new development: Baha Mar.
Large dump fires are common on our main island. The landfill management method we have developed seems to have incorporated them as a normal part of the process. Of course, this should not be. We are certain that human health is not bettered by inhaling the noxious smoke - which is the consequence of the combustion of all manner of chemicals and debris.
The government manages the dump through one of its agencies. It has a responsibility to put in place a responsible management regime that does not include regular fires that pollute nearby communities. There should not be regular large-scale fires there. We have become accustomed to something quite unhealthy.
In response to the second wave of the latest fire, Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett said the government is painfully aware of the need to find a workable solution for the ongoing problems at the dump and it is working to address the issue.
"There are certain matters that are going to be placed before the Cabinet in short order. So I think before we go into this budgetary cycle we will present to the Bahamian people a solution in regards to the Tonique Williams-Darling landfill," he said.
Bahamas National Trust President Neil McKinney said that the matter requires urgent attention, as the smoke is obviously unhealthy for people to inhale.
"I think this is the kind of thing where privatization may well help the people and the government," he said. "It has been going on for far too many years. There needs to be a change in how the landfill is managed."
We agree that urgent change is needed. The problem is that our government keeps looking at proposals and considering options, but long-term solutions to long-standing problems rarely emerge from this process.
So, what will happen if the status quo remains? The residents in the path of the smoke will continue to breath in harmful smoke and soon the guests of our multi-billion-dollar resort will be doing the same.
As a country, we need to move beyond the model of continuing failed state structures. The government managing the dump is not working. It needs to transfer that responsibility to a group capable of responsibly doing so. This should be done with urgency, as the health of people who live on, and visit, the island of New Providence is being harmed.
Nassau, Bahamas - The following is a contribution by the Hon Earl D. Deveaux, MP and Minister of The Environment on the Bill for an Act to Amend The Bahamas National Trust Act, 2010 in the House of Assembly:
of the many unwritten, little known vignettes about the creation of
The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the oldest and most famous in The
Bahamas National Park system, is that The Park was created to forestall
much, if not the whole, of the Exuma Cays from being alienated to development
anticipated by a now deceased wealthy American industrialist who wished
to purchase the whole of the Exuma Cays and develop luxury homes for
the wealthy of the world. Since six cays had already been sold, he was
told it was against the law; and the legislature quickly made it so...
TOMORROW afternoon, the Bahamas National Trust will open its gates for the 21st annual Wine and Art Festival.
This year's festival features more than 50 talented artists, a selection of more than 50 wines from Bristol Wines and Spirits and a new feature - a wine and food pairing area sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism's Culinary Tourism Division.
Tonight, BNT members will get a special preview of the art and a chance to bid on unique, marine-themed silent auction items at the Wishing Fish Auction, sponsored by Gourmet Market, Food Art By Cacique and Bristol Wines and Spirits.
"We are extremely grateful to our sponsors," said Eric Carey, BNT executive director. "Their suppo ...